Rumored Lakers head coach target is already off the table

One of LA's targets for their next head coach went off the market on Thursday morning.
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

As the offseason begins for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the biggest moves still to be made is hiring the team's new Head Coach. After Darvin Ham and his entire coaching staff were let go following LA's first round playoff exit, Ham along with all his assistants will need to be replaced.

We know that the organization has already been considering several candidates for the position. According to NBA Insider Shams Charania, the Lakers' ongoing coaching search includes candidates such as Mike Budenholzer, Kenny Atkinson, JJ Redick, Tyronn Lue, Charles Lee, David Adelman, James Borrego, and Jason Kidd.

On Thursday morning, one of those candidates officially went off the market when the Charlotte Hornets announced they had hired Charles Lee as the new head coach for their franchise. Now, the Lakers will be down one of their reported top options as their search continues.

Currently the lead assistant coach on the Boston Celtics' staff, Charles Lee was looked upon favorably by the Hornets and Lakers in this process due to his extensive pedigree of success over the last decade. Lee got his first NBA coaching opportunity as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks in 2014.

Charlotte hiring Lee puts LA down one of their top coaching options

There, he was part of a staff that produced a consistent playoff winner throughout the mid-2010s. In 2018, he joined the departing Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and followed him to Milwaukee, joining a staff that won an NBA championship in 2021.

Interestingly enough, Lee's next move was set up by Darvin Ham. Serving as the top assistant in Milwaukee at the time, Ham was hired by the Lakers which allowed Charles to move into Darvin's previous role with the Bucks. From there, he was hired to the same position with the Celtics in 2023.

Aside from his 10 years of coaching experience as a reliable assistant, another of the biggest selling points for Lee as a head coach was his age. At 39 years old, he is a younger coach that is well-respected and can relate more to younger players than some older coaches. For a young team like the Hornets, he makes a lot of sense.

Before the announcement of the hire, it was anticipated that Charlotte would likely hire either Charles Lee or JJ Redick as their new head coach. The Lakers were reported to have had interest in both candidates as well, and it became a race to see who would get their preferred choice first.

With the Hornets outbidding LA for Lee, the Lakers will need to move with urgency to ensure they do not lose out on any of their other big candidates.